Food & Drink » Concoctions

Drinking Games


This summer the American movie culture has added a new drinking movie to the list. Beerfest is about a bunch of beer drinking dudes that vow to win the international drinking games held in the Munich underground during Oktoberfest. While the movie has the obligatory sophomoric humor, plenty of nudity and, well, lots of drinking, it also reminds us of that age-old pastime, drinking games.

From what I recall, drinking games are designed, well, to get people drunk. They are for those youthful drinkers who grimace at the taste of a shot of tequila or a gulp of beer. But taste is not their objective. They speed up the process of social lubrication for people who tend to sip by making them chug. Wine, beer, spirits… it doesn’t matter what you down, just that you are downing large amounts of it.

To jog you own memory, as the act of playing these games tends to kill brain cells and make you forget how to play them, I have listed a few basic drinking games. The rules are general and are apt to change during the course of the game as location, environment and state of inebriation may affect game play.

Chugging involves the basic game of how fast one can down a beer or glass of alcohol. It is the basic competition for drinking. Various devices such as oversized mugs, the tube and funnel or ‘yards’ of beer (a glass tube a yard long) can be used. The winner can win money, drinks, or the loser can be made to buy the next round.

Quarters (or shooters) is the quintessential drinking game. While most play it with a glass of beer, shots glasses filled with tequila are also a favorite. The rules are simple. You bounce a quarter off the table and try to make it into the glass. There are two ways to play. The shooter, if he makes it chooses the unlucky sap to drink the contents. Or, as everyone is intoxicated, they have to drink it themselves. This has never made sense to me as one could purposely miss to avoid downing the concoction. For style points one can catch the quarter in his or her teeth from the glass although someone better know the Heimlich maneuver.

Beer Pong is a complicated game which is a combination of bowling, shuffleboard and carnival game. Players attempt to put a tennis ball (although ping-pong balls work as well) into beer cups arranged in a triangle shape. Two players or teams attempt to put their balls in the cups. As the rules are extremely complicated and variable this can be a challenging game. It has achieved worldwide status through the World Series of Beer Pong and other professional tournaments. Of course, one could put cocktails in the glasses and make it much more challenging.

Kattabos is perhaps the oldest drinking game and was perhaps played at one of Plato’s parties. Known in the modern age as arrogance players pour a small amount of alcohol into a glass and then attempt to predict the flip of a coin. If they guess correctly, then the glass passes to the next person. If incorrect, then the player must drink the entire glass.

The Name Game is a drinking game that doesn’t center around speed drinking or chugging, but instead the interesting result of the fact that there is an inverse relationship between drinking and intelligence. The more you drink the dumber one gets. The name game takes advantage of this phenomena to hilarious results. One person says the name of a person, place or thing. The category must be decided upon beforehand and a “judge” is always a good idea. The next person must say the name, place or thing but it must start with the last letter of the previous player’s answer. For instance, with a category of fruit, the first person says “plum.” The next person can say “mango.” Then the next person can say “orange.” Repeats are not allowed. A variation involves clapping to a beat and the person must say their answer within a certain amount of time. The penalty is, of course, taking a drink.

If you have more drinking games or variations, please send them to